It is finally summertime!
A time of travel and a time of relaxation in the form of a vacation is about to come your way. Right now you could be planning what to pack and picking out your hotel accommodations, and dreaming of sticking your toes in some sand. But before you wrap up that checklist, let’s talk about a common pest issue that could affect your entire home after the vacation is over.
Bed Bugs. A common misconception about bed bugs is that they are only found in cheap and/or dirty motels. This is not true at all. Bed bugs do not discriminate as long as they can be near a source of blood. This means that they can be found in office buildings, movie theaters, as well as in beds. But they don’t stop there. Bed bugs can also be found in other types of furniture like couches and dressers, in walls, and on headboards. And a bed bug’s favorite mode of travel? Although bed bugs can’t fly, they are more than happy to stow away in your clothing and suitcases.
Why This is Important
Typically, a bed bug’s home is a bird or bat nest but once they’ve hitched a ride home with you, they are ready to start a family. A female bed bug generally lays one to five eggs per day. That might not sound very fast or like such a big problem at first, but those “nymphs” only need to digest human blood approximately 5 times to become adults and begin producing themselves. It can take up to about six to eight weeks for a full infestation to come to your notice, but by then although they are easier for you to find, it can be much harder to get rid of the problem.
Check for Signs of Infestation as Soon as You Check-in
Firstly, you need to be able to identify a bed bug, itself. They are roughly the size of an apple seed and shaped about the same as well. Their offspring when just hatched are about the size of a poppy seed. If you don’t see any of the insects with your naked eye, the next thing to look for are stains and/or shells. Generally, bed bugs leave behind tiny black and brown stains no bigger than the period on the end of a sentence, but when they get smashed, they leave behind bigger, rust-colored stains, as well as leaving behind sticky, yellow shells after molting.
Travel experts advise that in order to discover a bed bug issue in a hotel room, the first place to look is in the bed. But don’t just check the mattress, take off and check the sheets, the comforter, pillowcases, and even use a credit card to scrape inside the seams for any stragglers that may be hiding out. If at all possible, it is always good to check both sides of the mattress for any of the insects, stains, or their little shells. If there is another furniture in the room such as couches, carpeting, dressers, etc, it is advised that you go over these steps again with each piece in the room.
If you feel comfortable that there are no hidden hitchhikers in your room, then enjoy your vacation to your heart’s content! However, if there is a problem it would be wise to alert the hotel to the problem and ask for another room. Although finding an infestation in one hotel room doesn’t mean that all the rooms have an infestation, many people would feel better moving to a new hotel altogether.
How to Avoid Coming Home with Unwelcome Guests
Here, the travel experts advise that if you have a cloth suitcase, wrap it in plastic according to TSA guidelines to avoid any bed bugs jumping from other unsuspecting passengers’ bags into yours. It is also advisable that if you don’t yet have your luggage purchased, that you may want to consider getting a suitcase that is made of plastic, leather, or another non-cloth variety
If you decide that your cloth suitcase is sufficient for your travel needs, another way to avoid bringing home bed bugs with you is to only pack clothes that can be washed in hot temperatures and to store all of your dirty clothes in plastic bags, until they can be washed. If your hotel has a laundry service, it is best to wash all of your dirty clothes before checking out and boarding your plane home. However, if laundry service isn’t available until you get home, the best thing to do is to walk your suitcase directly to the washing machine, and washing all of your travel clothes in hot water immediately.
And of course, if somehow, all of these tips still don’t help to avoid bringing home these mildly annoying houseguests, Clark Exterminating, Inc. will be there to help you evict the problem from your home.
If you suspect you have a bed bug problem in your home or office, make sure to contact us online or by phone to schedule an inspection. Remember, “The Bug Stops Here!”
Little Rock: 501-228-0322
North Little Rock: 501-725-0614
Hot Springs: 501-623-2335